Jaguars – Fireballs
The Gauteng Jaguars beat the Golden Fireballs by 58 goals to 52 in a thrilling contest in the Brutal Fruit National Premier League (NPL) at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena on Friday night.
The Jaguars won the first quarter by three goals. Midway through the second quarter, the Fireballs drew level at 22-all, but the Jaguars pulled away again, thanks largely to the excellence of their shooters, Ina-Marie Venter and Lindie Lombard. At halftime, the Jaguars led 33-27.
The Fireballs came out all guns blazing after the break and the Jaguars had to fight for every goal. They won the third quarter by two goals, but in the final quarter, it was the Fireballs who dominated, winning it by 15 goals to 13.
“It was a very intense match,” said player of the match Tshinakaho (Tshina) Mdau, the Jaguars wing attack.
“We stuck to our game plan and were able to pull it through, even when they came hard at us.”
Jaguars coach Jenny van Dyk said she was very proud of her team.
“It was a very competitive match and exactly what we wanted as we go into the final stages of the NPL. The players kept their composure when things got tough and that is what I want from them.”
Elsje Jordaan, the Fireballs coach, said she was disappointed with the scoreline, but very happy with the way the team was coming together.
“We achieved a lot of turnovers, and if we had converted those, things could have been different. But what pleases me most is the self-belief in the team – they no longer regard themselves as the Gauteng second team. Quarter finals are coming up and who knows what happens in the knockout stages.”
Aloes – Stings
Earlier, the Eastern Cape Aloes made the Southern Stings work for their 60-38 victory.
The Aloes started very well, and for the first five minutes they dominated play before the Stings got into gear. By halftime, the Stings had a 37-15 goal lead, despite the excellent work by the Aloes’ defence. In the third quarter, the Aloes came back strongly. They lost the third quarter by just one goal and won the final quarter by a goal.
Stings wing defence Sasha-Lee Petersen, who was player of the match, said her team had lost a bit of focus during the second half.
“But on the whole, it was good teamwork,” she said.
Elfreda Luyt, the Stings coach, said she had started with a strong team, bringing on bench players later in the match.
“Those young players train hard and they need the exposure,” she said.
“The Aloes’ defence in the circle was outstanding and made it hard for our shooters. I told them just to play safely.”
Aloes coach Des Neville said she was a bit disappointed that the result had not been closer.
“They had such a brilliant start, but they couldn’t maintain the intensity,” she said.
“Our goal defence was excellent, but while they got the rebounds and the turnovers, we weren’t able to convert them. We have to work on maintaining the intensity throughout and on converting our advantages.”
Images: Samuel Shivambu / Backpagepix